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“What was really important to me was that I didn't want to do something that will look from the past. It’s quite easy to look at the past and forget that you have to create something for today,” says Boucheron’s creative director Claire Choisne.
Aside from being Choisne’s favorite design movement, the Roaring 20s was an incredibly successful period for Boucheron—the house won multiple awards for its art deco designs, including the Grand Prix award at the 1925 Paris World Fair, considered the birthplace of art deco.
And while Choisne loved delving into the archives looking for inspiration, the biggest challenge was identifying what made certain pieces look contemporary.
“And I found three reasons. The first one was the balance between really pure design and sharp lines that were at the same time opulent,” she explains. “The second was more about color. The pieces that I loved, they were always black and white, and sometimes with a touch of color. And the last reason was, on those pieces you can feel something quite feminine, but at the same time, quite masculine. It was both at the same time.”
Even though Choisne noticed the duality in some of the archival designs early on, it wasn’t until she and her team started playing with the newly designed pieces and “photoshopping them on photos of women and men” that she realized their unisex potential. “It became obvious,” she adds.
This multi-wear, gender-neutral collection really puts Boucheron at the forefront of modern design, despite the Maison being the oldest jewelry house on the renowned Place Vendôme in Paris.
Some of the highlights include an opulent white gold and platinum necklace, set with emeralds, onyx, and diamonds, that quickly transforms into a tie. A diamond choker in a beautiful chevron pattern does quadruple duty as a belt, a headband, and a duo of bracelets. One of the most lavish designs, inspired by pieces the Maison created for Maharaja of Patiala in 1928, is a necklace set with a whopping 230 emeralds and weighing a total of 1,072 carats, can be worn as a choker or a bracelet. And finally, Choisne’s favorite piece—la Lavallière Diamants, a stunning diamond, onyx, and white gold necklace, which she says “looks stronger on a man.” It was inspired by a 1920s brooch that the Boucheron team reimagined as a choker and a collar pin.
Sustainability also takes center stage in this collection (“The most beautiful things on this planet are made by nature. And we don’t have the right to destroy them,” says Choisne). Boucheron’s gold is one hundred percent traceable, and certain pieces from History of Style are set with Muzo emeralds from a mine in Columbia renowned for its environmentally-friendly practices.
And while Choisne admits that there is always more that companies can do to make their operations more sustainable, she says that designers, too, have a creative responsibility to show people that nature’s beauty is to be respected, observed, contemplated about, and, most importantly, protected.